herald

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Reds set for Saracens showdown in Aviva

Peter O’Mahony
Peter O’Mahony

The legacy of Munster's European history has hung like a millstone around the necks of those who have followed in the footsteps of legends.

Until now.

They will have to dethrone the reigning champions Saracens - they scuppered Glasgow Warriors 38-13 at the Allianz Arena yesterday - in the semi-final to make their first final in nine years.

Munster will have the considerable advantage of playing at home, albeit in The Aviva Stadium, and they will need every edge they can muster to destabilise a real machine.

Current captain Peter O'Mahony is a leader to rank up there with the best they have had in the red shirt.

"It's a different group and with all that's gone on in the club, with the trophies that have been won, the teams that have been there, the massive players we've had, it's nice for us to be forging our own way," he said.

"A huge amount of it goes back to our history, but it's nice for us to put our stamp on it ourselves."

Munster certainly stamped their authority all over Toulouse in making the semi-final for the first time since 2014.

There are new men stepping up to the plate.

Tight-head prop John Ryan was Man of the Match and Niall Scannell is a rapidly-improving hooker.

"It was the first quarter-final for a lot of us," said Scannell.

"There was probably fellas in the group pushing how important it was and that we haven't done ourselves justice in this stage of Europe a lot of times.

"There was lots of pressure there to get into the semis and we're just massively excited now to get onto the semi-finals."

They coped with the late loss of Conor Murray - Duncan Williams deputised well - and the in-game injuries to senior figures Keith Earls (back), CJ Stander (ankle) and O'Mahony (dead leg).

Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus will need everyone on deck for what will be a guaranteed sell-out in three weeks time.

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